Paul Oberjuerge header image 2

You Don’t Have Time to Read This

November 27th, 2018 · No Comments · Journalism, Newspapers

This goes back to the 1980s. Maybe a vacation in 1982. Certainly no later than 1985, when I know I was in London for two-plus weeks — because I covered the first Wimbledon championship that Boris Becker won.

And, in short, it was this:

Too much good stuff to read.

And this was just the Sunday newspapers.

Anyone who has been to England knows that it has a thriving newspaper industry. And it was really something in the 1980s and 1990s, when print journalism reached its zenith.

I was so impressed by English newspapers that I wrote a features piece for Gannett News Service on how big and how complete and how vast were the horizons of the quality English newspapers — which in no wise could be called “rags”.

They had reporters or at least correspondents everywhere. With the latest from Sri Lanka or Tibet and especially when dealing with a former bit of the British Empire.

But then I encountered a downside to all this marvelous, world-straddling journalism.

I encountered so many stories I thought I needed to read … that I found myself spending my vacation reading English newspapers in my two-star hotel.

“Just a minute! I want to finish this piece on the economic outlook in Zimbabwe!”

“Hang on, till I’ve digested this op-ed piece that demands the de-nationalization of the rail system (The Telegraph) … and then the one that insists it not be touched (The Guardian).

And my wife would begin doing a sort of figurative toe-tapping and, finally, with my butt cheeks going numb from sitting on a lumpy couch while trying to get through the hundreds of pages of news.

The landscape has changed since then, of course.

But the sliding down the rabbit hole of daily news has only been exacerbated.

Newspapers are still hanging around, and reading them semi-closely, in their online incarnations, still can inhale much of a morning. Or a day.

In a given day, I read a significant chunk of the stuff linked to the websites of the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Guardian and, increasingly, the Wall Street Journal. (Yes, considering paying the exorbitant rate for it.)

And then there are the websites without a hard copy to clutch, and for me that certainly means, probably and a newer one, for me — The New Yorker. (And don’t try skimming it for the cartoons; several headlines in there will draw you onto the rocky shoals of a 10,000-word “short story” on raising cattle in Burundi.)

A fair chunk of this mountain of type comes in the shape of long-form journalism which, once I have started it, I feel compelled to finish. Really.

So much stuff out there to read, so little time.

Even of it if you spent the five minutes to read this post.



0 responses so far ↓

  • There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.

Leave a Comment